Genuine 4WD

The Nissan Pathfinder is back after four years and, reports Gordon Legge, sitting nicely between the mighty Patrol and the smaller soft road Xtrail

Genuine 4WD
Genuine 4WD

It is an old cliché but it’s true sometimes it’s the little simple things in life that can bring so much pleasure. Things that you haven’t done for years for one reason or another then when you pick them up again and have a go; suddenly you’re smiling from ear to ear wondering why you ever stopped in the first place.
For many of us, riding a motorbike is one of those great pleasures and it’s not until you get back onto the bike you realise what you’ve been missing.
Last weekend I did the BMW "return to riding" course. It is a few hours on the track for those of us with graying temples and an expanding stomach so that we can rediscover some lost skills and the pure simple joy of riding a bike. I haven’t smiled so much since I last changed wives. A motorbike is such a brilliant way to become part of your environment, pushing things to the edge feeling your boots scrape the road and the rear wheel slide under heavy acceleration, it is such a brilliant experience that is so easily lost in the mists of time.
But when you step off a bike and sit back in a car the experience becomes all the more powerful. It is the sort of transition that makes you so aware of just what a wonderful calm clean safe environment the modern car has become.
Part of the wonderful environment is the new Nissan Pathfinder.
The new Pathfinder is a genuine 4wd; this is not a soft city 4wd. It is built for hard work and thrives on it. As a serious 4wd it will exceed the expectations of anyone who lives or works in the great outdoors. The independent suspension and the rack and pinion steering help restore on road performance to a level that is more than acceptable.
Pathfinder is available in both diesel and petrol versions. The petrol engine is a version of the reliable hard working four litre all aluminum V6 that powers both the 350z and the Maxima. The Pathfinder version offers a massive 198kw of power at 5600rpm and 386Nm of torque at 4000rpm.
The diesel is the 2.5ltr common rail engine also fitted to the Navara ute. We were driving the petrol version and mated to the five speed automatic gearbox it is a very smooth combination.

There is an easy to use rotary knob on the dash that lets you select from 2WD, 4H and 4L. There is also an automatic setting, which allows a very clever computer to decide whether drive to the rear wheels only or 4WD is the best safest option.
Pathfinder has a number of excellent safety features.
Active head restraints that move forward to prevent your head flying back in the event of an accident.
VDC (vehicle dynamic brake control), which regulates the brake pressure via the ABS and the engine power if it senses under steer or over steer.
As well as these features, Pathfinder has seatbelt pretensioners and plenty of airbags.
Pathfinder comes standard as a seven-seater and the folding mechanism for the second and third rows is one of the best. A simple one flick of a switch on each seat and they fold forward to produce a perfectly flat floor. The third row of seats is not suitable for a 120kg Henderson butcher, however he will find the front seat wonderful. He will also be thrilled when the seat slides back to allow easy entry and exit to get the tummy past the steering wheel. It was a little unnerving when it first happened but it is a great idea. As soon as you put the key back in the ignition the seat slides forward again to where you last left it, it’s a smart idea.
In the dash there are separate climate controls for driver, passenger and the team in the rear. There is a 6CD unit and there are controls for it and the computer are on the steering wheel. The steering wheel also has the cruise control functions.
On the rear vision mirror there is a led display compass to show your direction of travel. Ten out of ten for nifty gimmick, but I can only give two out of ten for practicality.
Pathfinder is available in two trim options. The ST, which comes with cloth trim, cruise control, electric windows and dual zone climate air. The TI spec, which has the powered and heated front seats, sunroof, additional rear air conditioning plus side and curtain airbags.
Pathfinder is designed as a serious hardworking 4WD and I’m confident it will exceed the expectations of anyone using it off road. It is not going to perform like the family station wagon on the highway but it is a small compromise.
Pathfinder is available from just over $60,000.



Petrol 4ltr V6
Output 198kw at 5600rpm
Torque 385 Nm at 4000rpm
Multi link fuel injection
Runs on 91 octane
Fuel capacity 80 ltrs
Diesel 2.5ltr
Output 128kw at 4000rpm
Torque 403Nm at 2000rpm
Fuel capacity 80 ltrs

5-speed auto

Front independent double wishbone with coil over shocks
Rear independent multilink with coil springs

Front and rear ventilated disks
Brake Assist, EBD and ABS

Kerb 2199kg
Towing capacity braked 3000kg
unbraked 750kg


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